ECONOMY

Security concerns spark a panic run on shares

Shares fell sharply yesterday to levels last seen in December 2003, with weak European and US markets on security concerns sparking a sell-off in the bourse’s small- and mid-cap sectors. «The market tracked European bourses today but the reaction was a bit exaggerated. Being less liquid, the Greek market is prone to more volatility,» said analyst Paris Mantzavras at HSBC Pantelakis. «Some stocks are now at oversold levels, but I don’t see a catalyst for a sustainable rebound due to the general negative sentiment globally for earnings prospects, and higher geopolitical risks,» he added. The benchmark general share index ended 3.77 percent down at 2,276.32 points, the lowest close since December 31, 2003. The sell-off was broad-based, with all but six of the 362 stocks ending with losses. Across Europe, benchmarks fell to early January levels, with investors dumping broad swaths of shares, compounding a bearish tone that began two weeks ago. Selling pressure extended to banks and telecoms stocks. Blue chips fell 3.88 percent while mid-caps and small-caps lost 4.78 percent and 6.51 percent, respectively. Turnover nosed up to 171.25 million euros, with 41.88 million shares changing hands. (Reuters)